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  1. #1
    Senior Member Buffybike's Avatar
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    Advice on buying a child's bike trailer? Any brands to avoid??

    I want to buy a bike trailer for my 6 year old daughter so she can ride with me when I take my Giant Sedona out for a spin/charity ride/running errands. She has a Giant kids bike already...should I just buy a bar that attaches her bike to mine (and lifts her front wheel slightly off the ground)? Or should I spend more and get the trailer? I have another (younger) child who will use it after her, so I don't mind spending up to $200. Any suggestions???

  2. #2
    Senior Member jubal117's Avatar
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    I would get an Trail a bike instead of a kiddie trailer. My daughter has been using it since she was 3 and she is 6 now. I find it easier to pull than a kid trailer and it makes them feel useful at the same time. I picked my Adams Trail a Bike up at my LBS for 160 or 170. I think it was a steal with the thousands of miles that are now on it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Buffybike's Avatar
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    daughter hates bike trailer

    So I bought a Schwinn Hitchhiker...put it together and attached to my hybrid. My 6 yr old daughter hates it. She says I go "too fast" (I was going <5 mph) and she doesn't like the fact that there are no training wheels on her "bike". She's never been very adventurous and I'm pretty sure I saw a snail pass her last time she was on her regular bike. Not so athletic, that one. I was really excited about doing the Breast Cancer Awareness ride with her using the Hitchhiker. I was also hoping that having the trailer would allow us to spend more time together doing something fun and healthy. Oh well...she's good at other things. For now, though...the Hitchhiker is going back to the store

  4. #4
    GATC
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    My 4 yr old moves back and forth between trailer and trail-a-bike; part of it depends on how much she wants to play w/ toys (trailer leaves her hands free, t-a-b does not, but a doll or stuffed animal can ride in the riser/bmx bar on the t-a-b to keep her company). Today she did both on one trip (my wife had the trailer for cargo and I had the trail-a-bike for 4 yr old, once the trailer was empty she wanted in).

    My son is 8 and enjoys the trail-a-bike but he's getting too big for it. At least we tell him that and make him ride his own bike. He is never a speed demon on his own bike, but we did ride 14 miles yesterday averaging close to 9mph which is some kind of best for him.

  5. #5
    Lost? No, seeing America.
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    We've had an Adams Trail-A-Bike for years, both kids have been on it with no problems (get an Adams!). We bought a Schwinn off craigslist for 50 bucks to use on a ride when cousins were visiting and it was horrendous! Even my son, 8 years old and very adept at it, had quite a bit of difficulty. It had an awkward tilt to the left and the hitch was very stiff. Needless to say, as soon as I got back on the computer after the weekend I posted it to craigslist again and sold it for $50.
    I still use the Burley enclosed trailer to haul groceries and pick up my 4 year old from daycare at the end of the day.

  6. #6
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    How many miles can your kids ride on a trail a bike. Were going 20 miles now with them in a copilot seat on the back of our bikes but I'll have to remove it for a trail a bike but I'm worried that we'll go a couple miles and he'll get tired and we'll just have to turn around.

  7. #7
    GATC
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    My son's gone 30 miles on t-a-b (he started around age 6), but my 4 yr old gets bored/"tired" very easily.

  8. #8
    Lost? No, seeing America.
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    My kids will go for as long as we really want. It's mostly a function of getting them to look for things as we ride (find a circle window on a house!) and having a destination in mind. If they actually get tired, they can stop pedaling for a while. I guess they just really mostly like being on a bike because we make such a big deal about it being so wonderful.

  9. #9
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    My son will be 4 in Jan. One of the TAB's I saw the frame looks like its can extend or retract. I thought about fixing a seat post sized bar to the back of my rear rack that the copilot seat sits on and connecting the tab there so when he gets tired I could simply move him to the copilot and go on.

    Or the burley piccolo http://www.burley.com/products/child/piccolo.cfm since it attaches to the rack, maybe I can find/make an extended rack that can hold both.
    Last edited by enine; 09-28-09 at 11:54 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by enine View Post
    .....
    Or the burley piccolo http://www.burley.com/products/child/piccolo.cfm since it attaches to the rack, maybe I can find/make an extended rack that can hold both.
    If I understand what you are thinking of doing with an extended rack, I don't think it will be possible. The Piccolo uses a proprietary rack (as shown in the image at the webpage). I do not know of a way to mount that rack further back nor do I know of an extended Piccolo rack being made. A way to mount the rack further back might be possible but I have high doubts about because I think it would sway too much on the extensions.

    There have been previous discussions looking for a TAB/baby seat option but I do not think anyone found success with it. The only one that I know did work was a forward mounted child seat like the WeeRide or iBert.

  11. #11
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    I wonder if the copilot seat will slide on the burley rack, if I can make that park work then I can make something else to pull an empty piccilo behind.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by enine View Post
    I wonder if the copilot seat will slide on the burley rack, if I can make that park work then I can make something else to pull an empty piccilo behind.
    I suppose you could fabricate something that would accept the Piccolo's hitch mechanism. That way the mount point on the rack would be covered by the child seat. Whatever you make would need secure attachments to the Piccolo rack and or your bikes frame. Sounds doable, but alot of effort and engineering. It might be less headache to get a tandem that could fit a child (child stoker kits). There should be little if any problems mounting a child seat to a tandem.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enine View Post
    How many miles can your kids ride on a trail a bike. Were going 20 miles now with them in a copilot seat on the back of our bikes but I'll have to remove it for a trail a bike but I'm worried that we'll go a couple miles and he'll get tired and we'll just have to turn around.

    I took my 5-year old on a 90 mile ride early this last summer, with an Adams Trail-a-bike. He did fine for most of the way. We took plenty of stops and did silly things like count churches and motorcycles, and we made a rule to stop and photograph ourselves in every cemetery we passed. For the last 15 miles or so if was clear that he had had enough, but I was still fairly impressed. A bit later we did a few 30-60 mile rides. He's still 5, but has basically outgrown the T-A-B, and would rather ride his own bike. He'll do 15-20 (flat) miles without difficulty.
    Last edited by mihlbach; 10-30-09 at 06:05 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    I use a Burley Kazoo (similar to Piccolo) for my six year old and a Burley D'Lite trailer for my twin toddlers. I highly recommend them.

    Honestly, I haven't tried rack-mounted child seats because I feel unstable even with just heavy bags on top of my rear rack. Burley does not sell a child seat for the proprietary Moose rack required for their Kazoo and Piccolo.

  15. #15
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    We used an In Step Turbo Trailer for many years of pickups from school, day camp, etc. It was dirt cheap (maybe $120) and never had any problems over thousands of year-round miles. She loved it, and was disappointed when I used a car to pick her up. All that changed when she turned 8 and had her first Trail-A-Bike ride. This was the last summer for the Trail-A-Bike, as she is now a competant bike rider. The trailer soldiers on, though, bringing back groceries from a stores where spaces for car parking are scarce.

    Pro: Trailer allows the transport of books, stuffed animals, and other stuff. Kids can take a nap in it. Add a quilt, and it is comfortable in winter. Con: Iit takes a lot of energy to pull, particularly uphill.

    Pro: Trail-A-Bike is much easier to pull, even when child is not helping. Con: Any gear requires a backpack. Child must dress for the weather and can't nap.

    Paul

  16. #16
    simplifying
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    My son started riding behind me on an Adams trail-a-bike when he was five. The seat was too high in its lowest setting, so I had to put on some wooden pedal blocks for him, and then everything was fine. I think the longest rides we've done have been about 60 minutes without a break. I don't know what length charity rides you're planning on, but I think if you ramp up the length of your rides gradually, you'll all be happy. I don't have first-hand experience with the front-wheel-lifter setups, but having seen them before, my impression is that they wouldn't be good above very slow speeds.

    One potential issue with the Adams, and question for you all, is the availability of hitch shims for 31.6mm seatposts. When I got the Adams a few years ago, it came with three shims to mount the hitch to seatposts as large as 31.0. My old "towing" bike had a 25.4 seatpost, but now I want to mount the hitch to a 31.6mm seatpost, and the thinnest shim I have is still way too thick. Does anybody have experience mounting the Adams hitch to a 31.6 post?

  17. #17
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    I purchased a Bell bike trailer at K-Mart because it was the cheapest one I could find. I would not recommend this trailer at all.

    The attachment system utilized a screw-on clamping system to attach to the bike. You could crank it for all you're worth, and it would come loose about 1/2 mile down the road. Re-tightening it would usually keep it attached for the remainder of that ride, but there were occasions when it would loosen again. I had one incident where I was coasting down a hill and the trailer came unhooked. The safety strap kept the trailer from completely separating from the bike, but didn't stop the attachment bar from jamming itself into my rear wheel and bending it up. Thankfully I kept the bike upright. Also the front of the trailer made contact with my rear wheel, which burned a hole through the fabric.

    About a year after I bought it, I noticed one of the wheels was developing quite a bit of play in the hub. As it turns out, the bearing went bad and was not replaceable or repairable. So at this point the trailer had to be junked.

    After that Bell self-destructed, some friends sold us their Schwinn trailer. That one is a much higher quality trailer and I would recommend that one with no hesitation.
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

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  18. #18
    Slow and Steady ClanLee's Avatar
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    I have a TAB and it's great. My son is 5 and we had a great time yesterday. We did 20 miles.



    I did a write up of our ride in the Southern California section.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...de-with-my-son

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    When my daughter was about 5 or 6, I purchased one of the first trailers, a Vista Alley Cat. She had a blast on it till she rode her own bike. With my son, 7 years younger, I purchased a used Trek trailer. It was a heck of a lot better than the Alley Cat because it had an alloy wheel , folded in half for easy transportation, and had a much better mechanical attachment to the seat post. So, for trailers, I would reccoment the Trek, although I have always heard great things about the Adams Trail a Bike. For a pull behind trailer for younger kids, we always used a Burley D'Lite, which I consider the absolute best on the market.

  20. #20
    Hebrews 10:20a jhefner's Avatar
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    Another TAB question: I have a son who has Downs, and is now 11. I just got back into cycling, along with his older brother this year. I would like to have him join us.

    I could get him a 20" bike with training wheels; but in addition to learning how to balance; he doesn't know the rules of the road, and I am afraid he will get hurt. I think in the beginning he will also tire easily.

    I tried out a 20" trail-a-bike at the LBS, and it fits him. My only concern is his weight -- he weighs a little over 100 lbs. I noticed that TABs are usually rated at 85 lbs.

    What do you all think? Will it work fine; even if he is a little over the limit? I noticed that some of you are attaching trailers to your TAB, so I am guessing equipment failure is not the issue; but trying to keep him balanced until he gets the hang of it?

    I hope he can get the hang of the TAB; and I can promote him later to his brother's 24" bike, and buy a road bike for him. Thanks in advance.

    -James

  21. #21
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    A tandem is a great option for those with special needs (developmental, VI, amputees, etc). Advantages are that the weight limit is not an issue, the larger adjustability range of the tandem, easier communications, more versatile and so on. They are more expensive and more difficult to transport.

    I understand the desire to want your son to learn to ride on his own. I don't think the tandem would delay that learning much and might be a more positive experience. TAB's are nice but can wobble to varying degrees. The Burley Piccolo is by far the most stable of the TABs. Trek and Adams seem to be okay but can develop play over time. I would stay away from any of the others. Some may have had success with them but the success rate of the others is low, IMO.

    I helped a high functioning 11 year old neighbors son with autism learn to ride last year. He had a fear of riding and no desire to learn. A few trips on the tandem and he was pretty motivated to learn on his own. He now regularly rides to our house and school. I am pretty sure he is 100+lbs. He definitely would not have fit well on a TAB.
    Last edited by masiman; 12-15-09 at 02:39 PM.

  22. #22
    Fred J.G. dwilbur3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhefner View Post
    Another TAB question: I have a son who has Downs, and is now 11. I just got back into cycling, along with his older brother this year. I would like to have him join us.

    I could get him a 20" bike with training wheels; but in addition to learning how to balance; he doesn't know the rules of the road, and I am afraid he will get hurt. I think in the beginning he will also tire easily.

    I tried out a 20" trail-a-bike at the LBS, and it fits him. My only concern is his weight -- he weighs a little over 100 lbs. I noticed that TABs are usually rated at 85 lbs.

    What do you all think? Will it work fine; even if he is a little over the limit? I noticed that some of you are attaching trailers to your TAB, so I am guessing equipment failure is not the issue; but trying to keep him balanced until he gets the hang of it?

    I hope he can get the hang of the TAB; and I can promote him later to his brother's 24" bike, and buy a road bike for him. Thanks in advance.

    -James
    When we first started out with the Trail-a-Bike, my daughter had a very hard time not swaying badly at low speeds. It was hard with 50 lbs for me I can imagine 100 would be very hard. That said, if he can ride without being panicky or playing around too much I don't think it would be too much of a problem. Try it out in safe places first.

  23. #23
    Hebrews 10:20a jhefner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwilbur3 View Post
    When we first started out with the Trail-a-Bike, my daughter had a very hard time not swaying badly at low speeds. It was hard with 50 lbs for me I can imagine 100 would be very hard. That said, if he can ride without being panicky or playing around too much I don't think it would be too much of a problem. Try it out in safe places first.
    Thank you very much for your reply. I have been reading through the various threads; looks like the rule of thumb is that the child should weigh less then 50% of the rider's weight.

    We will be at the limit, maybe slightly over. So, our first rides will be in a large little used parking lot; until we both get the balancing act down. I also plan to set his seat up at first so that he can touch the ground with both feet while sitting on the seat. I will be borrowing my son-in-laws MTB, so I will start off in a granny gear, and will also have the seat lower than usual.

    He wants to join me and his brother on our rides; he even already has a helmet, and bought us all an air pump. So, I think we can make this work.

    -Thanks;
    James

  24. #24
    (this space for rent) Gavush's Avatar
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    I've got a nashbar trailer converted to a burley "quick release" trailer hitch. I've pulled our 2 year old around in it mostly, but I've also done a 10 mile breast cancer ride with the 8 year old in it as well (100lbs) and it does well, tracks well and folds pretty flat. I guess it could have nicer wheels / axles but for the price and what I use it for it's fine. I've got about $150 into it counting the hitch and shipping. With a 6 year old though, I guess you might consider the trail a bike option. One problem with a trailer is the added width makes you have to be more aware of where you are riding, navigating curbs and other obsticles.

  25. #25
    Hebrews 10:20a jhefner's Avatar
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    My 11 year old son with Down's got his Schwinn Hitch hiker for Christmas, and my son-in-law wanted to take him for his first ride (I had it connected to his bike instead of mine.) So, I rode behind as "chase pilot."

    What happened wasn't good, but I still laugh when I picture it in my mind. The Schwinn Hitch hiker had some play in the coupling that lets it rock from side to side, as others have mentioned. My son soon realized this, and started rocking from side to side while saying "wheee"; while my son in law struggled to stay on two wheels and not weave all over the road. I tried, and didn't do any better; so back to the house we went.

    I put a thicker washer in the vertical joint in the hitch, and tightened both joints down as hard as I could. But there was still a tiny amount of play, and the weight ratio, so I still wasn't sure if it would work.

    My son made a remark about getting training wheels; and I realized that was what was needed. I bought a pair of Bell training wheels with springs built into them; so they raise up when there is a bump, and will also help push him back upright when he starts to tilt. As he learns to balance, we may be able to release some of the tension in the spring, and gradually raise them up until he is not using them at all; then take them off altogether.

    We then went out for another test ride the next day, and rode for about a mile. Sure enough, the back wheel jammed, as some have reported. Looking at the back wheel, the rear freewheel came unscrewed from the hub. I held the pedal on the right side with my right hand as I turned the wheel backwards; that made the freewheel screw back on. I then gave a hard shove on the wheel and pedal at the same time to lock the freewheel tight. We didn't have any problems after that.

    That evening, I raised the seat; it was way too low for my son-in-law; much less myself. I then adjusted the hitch down; that extra four inches of height will make it harder for my son to rock us, and by being able to lean more forward, I have more authority over the front wheel as well.

    So, it looks like it will work now; I am looking forward to many happy rides as a family in the new year.

    -James

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